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Extracts from the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, summarizing 15th Air Force bombing attacks in August and September 1944 on Oswiecim (Auschwitz)


The target is located app. 32 miles west of Krakow and app. 20 miles southeast of Katowice and forms with the rubber plant to the east, one area--grid coordinates 37[ring] 50[ring]. The oil refinery covers an area of approximately 1100 x 1200 yds and the synthetic rubber plant an area of approximately 1800 x 1200 yds. The plants were owned and operated by the I.G. Farben Trust of Frankfurt, Main. To the south and west of the target, a concentration and labor camp exists which indicates forced and foreign labor at these plants.

The attached diagram shows the target area, the principal buildings and their use as estimated from aerial cover, key to plan. There are over 100 buildings in the synthetic oil plant and aerial cover is available. The target has several railroad lines running through the entire plant.

The target was attacked four times by the 15th Air Force with B-17 and B-24 bombers, the bombs used were 500 GP with 1/10 nose and 1/40 and 1/100 tail fuzing.

On Aug. 20th, 127 B-17 bombers attacked dropping 1336 500 lb. GP bombs 1/10 nose, 1/40 tail, alt. of release 26,100 ft to 29,500 ft., time 10:32 to 11:00, 2/10 to 3/10 clouds over target. The main weight of the attack fell on the central and eastern parts; with considerable damage to installations and buildings. It appears that near misses caused a considerable amount of blast damage. Annotated print no. 3071, Aug. 23 shows and DB Report no. 189 list damage by buildings.

Cover was flown Aug. 25, 1944, picture 4173, 4176 and 4178 were taken. Clearance and repair work were in progress. Interpretation Report, Aug. 30th, DP 95 lists as damaged buildings in the primary objectives class no. 80, secondary objective 75 and 98, other objective class no's 61, 64, 70. It is definite that the synthetic rubber plant sustained the greatest amount of damage.

The last cover flown before the second attack was Sept. 2nd 1944 and report DB 199 speaks of repair going on and normal truck and M.T. movement being seen.

The second attack took place Sept. 13, 1944 from 11:17 to 11:20 at a height of 22,300 ft. to 24,000 ft. Ninety-six B-24's attacked with 943 500 lb. RDX filled bombs minus 69 bombs which had regular filler. Visibility poor, pff technic used. The heaviest concentration was again on the synthetic rubber plant, but the following oil plant buildings sustained major damage, no's 64, , 84 and 96 slight damage to 41, 43, 44, 81, 83 and several workshops stores, unidentified buildings and huts in the labor camp to the south and southwest. No's 8, 25, 47, 48, 51, 71, 105, 108, 112 and 114, photo no. 4022 annotated shows most of the buildings.

Oct. 16th, DB 241 speaks of great deal of repair work observed and new construction in progress. The operational activity seen in the past at the gas plant and elsewhere is not thought to have been associated with the use of part of the buna plant.

Report G-430, Nov. 29th, 1944 observes the plant as being active; cars are on the sidings and about 100 tank cars are on the rail siding east of the plant area.

Third attack, Dec. 18th, 1944 by 2 B-17's an d47 B-24's Four hundred thirty-six boobs dropped, all RDX filler with 52 regular filler as exception. All bombs 500 lb. size 1/10 nose, 1/40 and 1/10 nose, 1/100 tail, proportion of the two tail delays used unknown. Attack time 11:20 to 12:17; pff system, 22,900 ft. to 24,000 ft. heights. No photographs available yet. Damage throughout the area reported specially on buildings 73, 76, 84, and 104. Extreme active M.T. and pedestrian activity was evident. Repair activity has been intense and some new construction was evident.

Fourth and last attack, Dec, 26th, 1944 by 95 B-24's. Total of 679 500 lb. bombs dropped; RDX filler with 126 with regular filler as exception. Fuzing 1/10 nose, 1/40 and 1/100 tail, ration unknown. Time of attack from 12:16 to 12:21 at 22,200 ft. to 24, 700 ft., with pff system. No photographs are available yet. Many hits scored and near misses indicate extensive blast damage. Great operational activity at plant. Following buildings damaged: 9, 65, 73, 76, 77, 84, 89, 99 besides workshops, barracks inside labor camp, welfare building and miscellaneous small sheds.

The last cover was flown 15 Jan. 1945 (no prints available yet). Roof repairs were noted, steam issuing from a number of points. There have been movement and probably turnover of rolling stock.

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